back to article Microsoft hit with lawsuit over Xbox memory card ban

A UK-based manufacturer of Xbox 360 memory cards has begun legal action against Microsoft over the software giant's efforts to prevent so-called “unauthorised” memory cards being used with the console. Datel Design & Development, the manufacturer of Max Memory cards for the Xbox 360, yesterday filed a complaint with the San …

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Bronze badge

By which time

you'll be out of business and they can ignore you...

Oh what a surprise...

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Defective By Design?

I hope they win, although I wonder how this would sit with the mod-chip ban / upcoming court case? In both cases, although piracy did not *necessarily* occur, Microsoft decreed that they didn't like what was connected to their box.

Of course, the Xbox has USB ports so could quite easily accept memory sticks for data storage. But where would be the fun in that...?

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Who Microsoft?

Microsoft trying to own a market..never!

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@jimmy floyd

I too hope they win, maybe if they do it will extend to hard drives as well, there is no excuse for the extortionate price they charge for drives too small to be practical, nor any good reason why they are limited to 120GB.

I could buy a 1TB usb hard drive for less than a 120GB Xbox drives costs.

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Troll

on the other hand

there is the evil sony corporation with their reliable consoles, free online gaming experience, Full Blueray & full HD capability and encouraging users to fit a generic hard drive inside the

machine or use an ordinary usb hard drive for storage.........

*Im not a fanboi, I just dont like being done dry!!!

Troll, well that is just blatently obvious!!! :)

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Alert

Devil's Advocate Time

Isn't the memory card proprietary ? In which case did Datel Design actually get agreement from Microsoft (through licence, commercial agreement, etc) to manufacture the cards in the first place ?

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@John Robson

THey out of business... Nah

They been going years..

They used to make the Action Replay cartridges..

Used to use one on the old Amiga... them where the days lol

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Go

@By which time

Datel have been around for decades...

I dont think they will just go out of business from lack of memory card sales!

Im with Datel on this one!

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Stop

@Who Microsoft?

Microsoft trying to own a market... that they created, advertised, paid for, copyrighted, patented and forced absolutely nobody to use..... besides which, it's a sub-market - they don't own the *console* market, not even close.

If you want to use third party hw with your console, buy a PS3. Now THAT'S ironic given Sony's history.

The xbox is NOT an open source system - if I'd created a console system designed to make me money using closed source / propietary systems, I'd be pissed if someone was selling 'unauthorised' peripherals and stealing profit from me having invested little or no R+D cash of their own. And so would anyone else who'd invested tens, possibly even hundreds of millions in their console, too.

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Gates Halo

Apple's 'Authentication Chip'

Is this any different from Apple locking out non-approved vendors with some proprietary widget requirement in their accessories which only Apple can provide?

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4272628.html

But of course if MS do this then it's really evil.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah...

...so Microsoft are going to treat them like a mod chip company then. Makes me glad I've just gone Linux.

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g e
Silver badge
Stop

Isn't the memory card proprietary ?

Is reverse engineering illegal in UK then ?

Find the 0V and Vcc lines in the connector and the rest should be pretty simple for a bunch of techs like Datel. All without opening a single case.

Unless they circumvented some encryption, which when you think about it, MS would probably be too cheap to employ as they'd rely on a proprietary connector (is it?) on the card to 'secure' its contents. After all if MS weren't so cheap about electronics they'd not have a 20%+ failure rate on their xboxen.

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Grenade

Is this any different from Apple locking out non-approved vendors

Yes! because it was a change that caused the lock out it was not there at day one.

Microshite will burn in hell... Stinging customers for hundreds of £ to fix Vista.. yes thats a nice reward for customer loyalty.. then screwing more customers with console updates and changes.. They really are worse than crapple.

I finally installed Ubuntu on my laptop.. its taking me a while but it feels so much better! next step is to migrate the office systems..

MS, Go screw yourselves!!

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

And the nomination for...

...the dumbest thing ever said about a console goes to "RegisterFail"

Seriously, when have you EVER heard of a memory card screwing up ANY console???

Thought not.

Dumbass!

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Coat

What about Apple?

I hope they win this, it might set a precedent and stop Apple doing exactly the same thing. I was very annoyed when I discovered that £7 generic iPhone video cables are blocked by OS 3 and I need to fork out £35 to Apple for the same thing.

Mine's the one with the Android phone in the pocket......

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Tough One to Call

On the one hand, it benefits consumers if the peripheral market is open to multiple players; on the other hand, it's Microsoft's console and they can do what they want*.

* this is because, as Shady rightly pointed out, XBox360s are not a market - _consoles_ are, and thus their actions do not constitute abuse of their position in the console market. If anything, it actually harms their position.

Still, I hope Datel wins this as it would be best for consumers.

Final point: IIRC, reverse-engineering is permitted if it is in the interests of interoperability, thus Datel would seem to be covered by the law if they did indeed resort to doing that.

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Unhappy

@Sooty in response to @jimmy floyd

...can we add wireless NICs to the list too?

How can Microsoft justify charging £50 for a wireless NIC when you can buy an equivalent for about a tenner? Oh, that's right... the XBox software only allows you to connect their wireless NIC and not anybody else's - that's why Microsoft charge such an exhorbitant price for it, because they've got their customers well and truly over a barrel with their y-fronts round their ankles.

"So, you wanna not have to leave a Cat5 cable trailing across your living room...? That'll be fifty of your finest British pounds then!"

I'm sure that if they could find a way to only run the damn consoles using electricity supplied by EDF then they'd be implementing this too. Bastards... I hope Datel win - that'd be a victory for the consumer!

Datel should've taken them to court in Brussels though... I'm not sure an American court will really favour a British company over one of their own.

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@Gareth

Well in the case of the wireless NIC, those do in fact require drivers. Given the xbox 360 is NOT a PC running windows, drivers are not trivial to get. Microsoft certainly isn't going to write drivers for hundreds of different wireless NICs, so it is perfectly reasonable that it only works with theirs.

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@ Michelle Knight - treating them like a mod chip company

Have you ever seen the ACTION REPLAY MAX EVO device for the PS2? It comes with a USB stick and allows you to soft-mod your PS2 to have a different dashboard, or play and install copied games.

It might be a legal product, but the reason people buy it is to mod their PS2 without the need for a modchip.

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@Andy Gibson

To be honest, no I haven't. I'm still running an original Xbox which was modded to do most of the things that the 360 can now; like view pictures and play media from a local share. I don't play that many games these days ... I wanted to be an honest gamer, but all this copy protection crap just got in the way of the game experience, so now I just don't bother.

Having a modded Xbox that is capable of playing pirated games doesn't make me a criminal in my eyes ... I just wanted to be able to view my pictures on my large living room TV without having to hook up a PC and have a mouse and keyboard hanging around ... this way all I need is the Xbox remote control.

Like the army general said on US radio against the woman who was anti-gun ... "You're equippred to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?"

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Stop

You stepped on my toes. I'll sue you.

@Shady, Dapprman & Doc Spock.

I'm with you guys on this one. Datel shouldn't be suing Microsoft because they were trying to be cheeky. They should just swallow the bitter pill and look for a workaround/alternatives.

I'm not saying 3rd party products should be banned entirely. They definitely serve a purpose and keeping people like Apple and Microsoft in check is one of them. What I'm saying is that Microsoft are right on this one. They thought that people were starting to take the piss and so clamped down. Well within their right to do so. There can't be a monopoly on someone's proprietary products

@RegisterFail.

PC gaming isn't shitty and crap. PC gaming is more open to experimentation and pushing the limits of what a game can do. Without PC gaming and people modding things we wouldn't have half of the great ideas and games we have now. If you're talking about multiplayer games then either you a) Improve, b) Stop playing, c) Turn to consoles.

Don't put down PC gaming because you're a sore loser.

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FAIL

And people still buy microsoft products?

Microsoft are taking the... They sell you a nice cheap console for...

£149.99

Hard Drive

£89.99

extra controller

£34.99

total = 274.97

(two controllers, 120GB HDD, no HD films, no online unless you pay for it)

PS3

£284.99 (two controllers, 120GB HDD, bluray, free online)

So a whole tenner difference in price, and you don't get a bluray player and get a console that will fail eventually and no online access as standard. And people support this?

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Flame

AC Maths FTL

I love the console @ £149 + £90 for hdd etc.

You could look at it as 120Gb xbox 360 with either GO2 + MW2, or Lego Batman + Pure + Extra controller for £199. Of all the folks I know with consoles the 360 actually gets played and their PS3s just get used as blu-ray players.

Game install timeslol etc etc. We can all pointlessly troll and use stupid maths to support backwards arguments. :)

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@By Matt 13

Ah yes, Would that be the same open friendly Sony who tried to install rootkits when one played one of their infected REDACT REDACT protected disks?

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not a modchip

Memory cards don't allow "hacks and cheats", and neither they allow to play copied games. They aren't a modchip... they're just storage.

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Jobs Horns

MS: "Apple always highly regarded"

I expect certain applications to be banned from smart phones in the near future. (Quality Assurance, see...)

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FAIL

microsoft greedy

yes this is microsoft were talking about the company that takes money out of everyones pocket with there lies cheap designs avoiding the bugs crazy exspensive prices. what more can you ask for i bought an xbox 360 elite now on my second year within the first year around 11 months to be presice i got the red ring due to the motherboard if everyone who dont know what the red ring of death is search google for it. so there you have it a red ring in the first 11 months.

and before anyone asks know i didnt smash my xbox up i got microsoft to repair it free of charge as its under warrentry but thats still not the point microsoft should of sorted this and checked it before they started shipping them. but this is microsoft were talking about all they care about is money money money they dont give a monkeys about there customers end of

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Badgers

but...

They do make good spell checkers.. got to give them that. THEIR spell checkers are second to none, what with all that grammatical correction that they do as well...

Sorry, but ever since primary school incorrect use of their, there and they’re has always really annoyed me, I can’t help myself.

And c’mon can we have a little less MS bashing, they don’t make money out of every ones pocket, the fact is that if you don’t own a MS product then they are going to make very little profit from you.

Your argument doesn’t really hold water as MS did repair your Xbox for free within warranty, that’s what warranties are for.

Who would you expect to pay for your Xbox repair had the damage been caused by a faulty 3rd party memory card?

Perhaps they should only enforce this policy of no 3rd party parts on consoles within the warranty period? Not sure how they could achieve this though.

Guess as its an add on its not the same as actually opening up the case on your Xbox, but neither is plugging an 3rd party PSU… which has the same probability of buggering your console as the original MS one, but then that’s out of MS control so they cant possibly be expected to fix something which was broken by a 3rd parties bad workmanship, that’s basically what it comes down to, they are prepared to pay to fix their own mistakes, not those of a 3rd party supplier.

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Linux

@Gareth

"Datel should've taken them to court in Brussels though... I'm not sure an American court will really favour a British company over one of their own."

Not necessarily the case as Datel have asked for this case to be heard by jurors, and most Americans hate big companies which could bias the case in favour of Datel.

Same thing happened when a Canadian bases company sued MS in Texas. The Canadian company won that case.

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FAIL

@And people still buy microsoft products?

Try again -

Elite system: £189.99

Extra Controller: £24.99

You've got your 120gb Hard Drive, 2 controllers, HDMI cable and headset for £214.98

You can stuff your blueray up your japseye too, even on the free Silver service you can download HD movies for less than it costs to rent a blueray film.

I had a point before you annoyed me...what was it..oh yeah.

If I made a cake and gave it out at a loss specifically to make a profit selling plates, forks and napkins I'd be pretty pissed if someone set up shop next door selling plates, forks and napkins. Actually it's worse, it's like if I'd invented a new kind of food that could only be eaten with a new kind of fork

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Sly
Thumb Down

yet another reason...

to play PC games and avoid consoles like the 360. That is unless you really are insane fans of the exclusive games.

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@AC

Or, alternatively:

Elite console (with HDD): £189.99

Extra control: £29.99

Year of XBL Gold (which is NOT needed to access the other online services): £34.99

£254.97.

PS3 (120gb sllim): £244.69

Extra controller: £34.99

Replacing the non-DualShock controller that came in the box: £34.99

Microphone Headset: £25

HDMI cable, audio cables etc...

Films: £~13-~20 a time.

£339.67

So there's the difference, infact.

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Flame

@Gareth

You forgot to mention when talking about their proprietary USB WiFi thingy that it's a piece of utter shite that can't get a fucking signal to save its own life unless it's got line-of-sight to the fucking router.

Instead of cat5 I've got a bloody great long USB lead to take the thing to a point where it can see the sodding network, even thought the Wii next to it (which conspicuously lacks the external aerial of the Xbox unit) has no trouble at all getting a really good connection in situ.

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FAIL

Sony? Evil...surely not....

"on the other hand #

By Matt 13 Posted Tuesday 24th November 2009 11:56 GMT

there is the evil sony corporation with their reliable consoles, free online gaming experience, Full Blueray & full HD capability and encouraging users to fit a generic hard drive inside the

machine or use an ordinary usb hard drive for storage.........

*Im not a fanboi, I just dont like being done dry!!!"

Troll, well that is just blatently obvious!!! :)

Oh yeah...use a generic disk, but EVERY time you take it out and reinsert it I'll install a new version of the OS on it and wipe your existing data, because you're obviously using it for illegal purposes..oh and by the way, I'll use a proprietary file system which means you can't back it up or read it with a PC/MAC.

Use an ordinary USB hard drive.......providing it's FAT formatted. If, like me, you're using a Win7 PC (forget the flaming, I have reasons) you'll have to download a utility that supports FAT, because Win 7 doesn't!

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RW
Boffin

The real issues

"Restraint of trade"

"Tied marketing"

US law likes neither.

Note that the word "monopoly" does not appear.

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@ Andy Gibson

How does copy protection get in the way of being "an honest" gamer?

@ AC - people still buy Microsoft: You're not very good at looking for decent package deals are you?

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@Isn't the memory card proprietary?

"Unless they circumvented some encryption, which when you think about it, MS would probably be too cheap to employ as they'd rely on a proprietary connector (is it?) on the card to 'secure' its contents"

Encryption is now used against harware accessory makers:

http://www.xgaming.com/pages/x-arcade-xbox-360-available

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Thumb Up

Re: And people still buy microsoft products?

Ahh, a Sony fanboy it seems?

I take it you've chosen the XBOX 360 Arcade console as a comparison?

Well for starters, that isn't a fair comparison. I mean, if anyone was going to go for an XBOX with 120GB hard drive, they'd go for the Elite console.

When I got my Elite console, it was in a bundle from Game. IIRC it cost about £230, and that was the XBOX 360 Elite which came with the console, 120GB hard drive, controller, HDMI cable and annoying optical digital box and a network cable. Also in the bundle I got an extra controller and 4 games. Hardly £274!

In fact, I was a little bit bitter to read that one supplier (can't remember which one, might be HMV) are now offering the XBOX 360 Elite as above with 4 games and an extra controller for £189!

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not Microsoft's biggest fan, I don't like the fact that they don't give much away for free (I'm buggered if I'm paying £40 a year to play online) and the console is noisy, but it was cheaper than a PS3, even after the PS3 price drop.

By the way, the XBOX 360 does have HD films, it has 1080p HD streaming, and HD downloads. Only thing that miffs me is the fact that I can't do what I want with the films.

I'm with others though on this, I hope Datel win just for the principal. Microsoft charge far too much for some of their accessories.

Rob

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Gold badge

Ridiculous

", nor any good reason why they are limited to 120GB."

Well, there was a 137GB limit in some older BIOSes... (drives larger than this use LBA48 to address sectors...) So *maybe* the XBox doesn't support LBA48? (Note, I don't know, I don't own one.)

Overall, though, I agree, Microsoft has no business banning 3rd party hardware. I mean, if you crack the box and change your hard disk, maybe it'd void the warranty. If you get a 3rd party "perhiperal" that's just a shorted out block that plugs in, really I can't expect them to warranty this either. But just arbitrarily blocking 3rd party devices on what is after all just a USB bus? Ridiculous.

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Megaphone

re: And people still buy microsoft products?

It's got HALO. man... It's got feakin awesome HALO dude... I don't care how much I waste, it' got HALO....

I'm on my 7th console, but I still got HALO....

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Go

Hope Datel win

Sorry, but if it was there from the start then so be it. Datel have done nothing wrong. Microsoft have, IMO.

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FAIL

What???

@ Matt:

Sounds like you have been trying to read your PS3 hard drive in a Windows box. Windows overwrites the MBR as soon as the drive is detected rendering it useless when you put it back in the PS3. An easy mistake for an amature to make.

The comes with a utility that allow you to backup to any [FAT formatted] USB device [which can be achieved on your Windows 7 PC] and restore onto any hard drive you care to insert into your PS3.

I own neither console so am not a Fanboi but credit where credit is due to Sony for allowing the user to change these components with as little fuss as possible.

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Third party H.D.D.

Third party memory cards are good but a third part H.D.D. would be cool.

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FAIL

@RegisterFail

Your argument - which was also the line trotted out by Microsoft fails because of this reason.

Both Microsoft HDD and Microsoft Memory cards can be used in a similar way to hack game saves - they are essentially USB devices and only require the right lead and software to browse.

Hell, you can even use MS own HDD transfer kit cable.

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Grenade

I hope Datel wins

Like the others I hope Datel wins this one. I'm with the others. Sure, third party memory cards may be a little flakey (in my experience, with a old no-brand PSOne card), but to a money starved school kid, it's easier to save up for than the real thing.

Anyway, not owning a 360, I looked up both a Datel and a official MS card on Amazon.

Datel cards are apparently just converters. The card itself holds no memory, but It converts any given MicroSD card into a 360 card. It also allows you to make the card a whopping 16GB in size (32GB once Sandisk gets off their ass and starts producing them) and stick it up to M$, whose maximum card size is only 512MB. In a long run, the device actually allows the user to save money, since the user could just buy a new memory card from a third party company than buy M$' own exorbitantly priced cards (US$25 for a 512MB card? At that price you could get a 8GB MicroSD card). Clearly, this would step on M$ toes since people can just buy a cheapo SD card from any cellphone counter instead of going over to a gaming store and paying the inflated price for a new 360 memory card. M$ is just money greedy as per usual and wishes to continue screwing consumers over with their overpriced cards instead of getting with the times and introducing higher capacity cards and lowering the price of the lower capacity ones. US$25 for 512MB is 2005 pricing.

As for Halo, I still don't get what's so interesting about a cooking game.

Granade for Master Chef. Let's see him cook this one.

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Gates Horns

printer cartridges?

How is that different from lexmark's lost lawsuit?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/22/lexmark_dmca_update/

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Stop

Antitrust

Just a thought, if MS does lose against Datel, everyone who has modified, or bought something not MS for their x box can also sue, for inconvenience and non working accesories.

MS would be better just letting it go and allow using the datel stuff and others as being acceptable. Under some countries laws MS could be forced to stop trading until its sorted.

Now THAT would be fun.

In law if you buy something you are free to do with it as you like within bounds and using it with something else is not within those bounds. Next they might be saying that only English speakers are allowed to use it for example.

Careful MS you could be foot shooting here.

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